The instructions for sharpening a chainsaw call for holding the chain lightly in place with a vice and filing the chain using a round file or chainsaw filing kit. Apply the file following the angle of the top plate of the cutter, and make steady, even strokes until the face of the cutter is bright silver in color. Rotate the chain slowly, sharpening all cutters before flipping the chainsaw to sharpen the other side of the chain.
Use gloves and other appropriate safety equipment when sharpening a chainsaw. The process is time- and labor-intensive, so select a workbench or other well-lit area that offers plenty of space. Ensure the chainsaw is steady and secure and the chain is properly tensioned. Loose chains may wobble during sharpening, and too much tension can make pulling the chain by hand difficult. Adjust tension until chains are snug against the bar.
Using a round file of the proper dimensions restores all three angles of a chainsaw cutter. File size may vary depending on the make and model of the chainsaw. Consult the owners manual to ensure the right file size. File all cutters thoroughly, removing all visible signs of damage. Common signs of a dull chainsaw include bucking and burning wood during operation.